Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Is Metro Really the Anti-Christ?

It seems that everytime I turn around there is some blog, some newspaper article, some comment that points out yet another traumatic and disastrous experience on the Metro. Granted, Metro seems to have a lot of problems with its management and giving insanely huge severances to deposed leaders. But seriously, why all the hate for Metro from every which way. There's a weekly Q&A at washingtonpost.com that acts as a bitching session for every conceivable, minute complaint. The way I see it, Metro, even with its limitations, has saved thousands of people a day hours of misery. Seriously, you people would rather sit in traffic every single work day than ride a train car to work every day?! And I'm not even going to include the fact that Metro has created unimaginable wealth for homeowners near the stations, and doubtlessly injected millions upon millions of dollars into this economy. Let's look at some of the ridiculous questions in this weeks Roads and Rails in the Washington Post:

1. Why does Metro HQ keep their lights on at all hours of the day and night? Couldn't they save quite a bit of money if everyone turned off their office lights when they left for the evening?

This is the best you can come up with to complain about? I guess Metro shouldn't employ the use of janitors to clean the office at night? While we're at it, why are we wasting all that electricity to light up spotlights on the Washington Monument. Or does the Capital Dome really need that beacon light at the top of it?

2. Can someone speed up the slllllooow escalators? Compare the Metro escalators to the private ones rights after them in Pentagon City and Chevy Chase Pavillion - they are noticably faster. I'm sure Metro thinks they're just being safe, but certainly the private malls care too - but unlike Metro they also care about serving their customers.

I really can't believe how often I have to read complaints about the escalators. The latest argument is that stairs would be a huge improvement over the escalators. Yet, the most often complaint I hear is that the escalators are broken down too much, adding at least 3-7 seconds to each persons commute. Why would we build the equivalent of a broken escalator into the Metro stations when everyone hates the minimal physical exertion required to walk up the broken escalator? How about this - when you get an escalator in your house, THEN you can start complaining about broken escalators at the Metro station. Until then, walk up the broken escalator, and smile that you've burned off like 1/100th of that double mocha latte. One of my greatest joys during my usually miserable work day is when approaching the exit to my Metro station, seeing three escalators, one going up, one going down, and the middle one broken, and then walking up the completely empty broken one while 900 people crowd in on the working up escalator. When you are a drone pushing paperwork in a futile effort to navigate bureaucracy to do contracts for the Government, small joys like these are appreciated.

As a daily Metro rider, I can deal with the minor inconveniences. When I start comparing my Metro experience to what an actual commute would be on the godawful highways here, I get real thankful. It might be time for people in DC to start worrying about something actually important like the fact that the metro area has murderous, bloodthirsty alpacas roaming the street.


At 11:31 AM, Blogger RoarSavage said...

DC people just have no idea how good they have it. In NYC, the subway is GROSS! Nothing like here. I just hope that someday the metro will also be as quick as the MTA, with stops everywhere like there is in NYC. Oops... was that whining? hehe.


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